How to make your house more secure
There are some things need to do for your family.
Many burglaries were reported in 2016. It’s proving just how easy it is for burglars to gain entry. But before you make a decision to buy a security system for your home, take a look around your house. A few simple, low- or no-cost measures will significantly deter a would-be thief from targeting your home.
It’s impossible to make your house perfectly secure, but there are low-tech measures that will do 80 percent of the job.
Take a rest and go over these 13 steps—which range from low-effort, no-cost chores to more-involved, pricier projects—to improve your home’s security system.
- Take a household meeting
Make home security, with every member of the household—including kids—agreeing to a routine that should include such simple rules as:
- Remember use locks. It costs nothing and takes little energy.
- Do not open the door to uninvited or unwelcome visitors.
- Close and lock the basement door.
- Always secure your home when you’re doing work.
- Use your alarm system all the time, even when you visit some friends near from you.
- Call on the police
Many municipal police departments offer complimentary home inspections. An officer walks through your home and recommends simple, cost-effective changes to tighten security.
- Organize a burglary
This is a fun, useful exercise to do with a trusted neighbor or friend: Allow your neighbor to roam through your house for three minutes, find as many small valuables as possible, and remove them from your house. Let the ersatz burglar demonstrate how easy it is to find valuables. Then hide them from real burglars. That might mean buying a safe that bolts to the floor, renting an off-premises safe-deposit box, or stashing jewelry and cash in unorthodox places. You can return the favor for your neighbor.
Be smart with your keys.
- Remove the ‘hidden’ house key
The key under the mat, inside the mailbox, beneath a rock—everybody hides a house key. Problem is, burglars know it.Instead, give it to a trusted neighbor.
- Place keys and garage-door remotes in a smart spot
Don’t leave car and house keys and remotes near the door or otherwise visible inside your house. Secure them inside a cabinet or a drawer to keep them hidden.
- Add foreboding signs
Post security-company signs or window stickers near all entryways—whether you have a security system or not. Maybe you have signs/stickers on hand from a previous contract with a security firm, or maybe you can get some from a friend. In addition, post a few “Beware of Dog” signs in visible spots, say at the front of the house or on a gate to the backyard.
- Lock up the ladder
Don’t store a ladder outside. A burglar, perhaps posing as a handyman or contractor, could use it to gain access to a second-floor window or balcony.
- Light up the outdoors
If you don’t have them already, buy and install outdoor lighting with infrared motion sensors and install one near each point of entry. Replace any burned-out lightbulbs and put your porch lights on timers..
- Install timers
When you leave for work or appointments or go on vacation, you can create a “someone’s at home” look using timers on lights and TVs. No surprise, there are lots of gadgets available.
- Secure air conditioning units
Unsecured window air conditioners could provide an easy entry point for a crook. Use an air conditioner bracket, sliding window lock, or corner braces.
- Eliminate hiding spots
If your shrubbery is too tall, bushy, or not well spaced, you’re providing a nice hiding spot for a potential burglar. Trim and prune plantings.
- Check windows
Are the window locks operable? If not, get them fixed or replace them. Also consider installing smart locks , which let you open the window a few inches while still keeping it secure. Another alternative is to use inexpensive window-break alarms..
- Assess doors
Okay, so you’re probably not going to be able to install new doors by yourself over a weekend. But you can inspect your front, side, and back doors. Replace hollow (read: low-quality and easy-to-breach) doors with solid-core (made of wood or metal) or metal-clad doors. Sliding-glass doors have a latch to close them but are often an easy point of entry for burglars. To make one more secure, place a wood dowel cut to size or in the interior floor track, or consider adding a floor bolt.Electric garage doors are not a common point of entry—as long as they are closed.
- Replace weak locks
Locks are the weakest point on a door. Make sure you have a grade 1 or grade 2 dead-bolt lock that penetrates the door frame. It’s not necessary to get one at a specialty locksmith; these can be purchased at a big-box home store. The strike plate—the stationary piece that the bolt enters—must be heavy duty, made of solid metal or brass, with six three-inch-long screws that penetrate the door jamb and the door frame.